Gyomoon Jin, CEO and President
The food and agricultural sector has one of the most complex value chains that span farmers, suppliers, food processors, and distributors, all the way to the consumers. The involvement of multiple stakeholders in this supply chain often introduces challenges such as lack of traceability, slower financial transactions, intensive manual work, and more. Additionally, the spread of counterfeit products and immoral practices may also plague the supply chain at many of its stages, negatively impacting the involved participants. Nevertheless, all these challenges can be converted into opportunities by using digital technologies to enhance the agricultural productivity and efficiency of all its stakeholders. Making significant strides in integrating such digital technologies in the agricultural and food supply chain is Ezfarm, a leading-edge South Korean agtech firm.
“We are Korea’s number one agtech company that is digitally transforming agriculture with our information platform,” underscores Gyomoon Jin, CEO and president of Ezfarm. The company closely connects agricultural value chains by applying state-of-the-art big data, artificial intelligence, and blockchain technologies to help improve visibility and avoid disruption in agricultural production, distribution, and consumption. By using blockchain, in particular, Ezfarm is creating a new and transparent agricultural supply chain ecosystem— enabling food producers, distributors, settlement businesses, and consumers to exercise an unprecedented level of noncounterfeiting data sovereignty. Riding on the bandwagon of this technology, even the agri-food flyers are feeling connected and adding step-by-step to create a more reliable value chain.
At the core of Ezfarm’s agtech solutions is PigPlan, a production management system designed to collect, manage, and analyze data from pigs’ breeding cycles and improve the overall productivity of pig farms. “The platform leverages AI and big data to analyze the data gathered from pig farms and the Livestock Products Quality Assessment Service,” says Gyomoon Jin. Today, PigPlan is leveraged by over 40 percent of the pig farms in South Korea, and the platform’s database is home to 1.4 billion raw data about 0.4 billion sows (mother pigs). Not only this, but it also consists of data from production to distribution processes collected from the pig slaughterhouses and public government agencies. All this data is analyzed and published annually in the form of insightful reports to inform the clients regarding the latest developments and opportunities. The platform also enables users to check the productivity ranking of farms nationwide in realtime. Driven by these benefits, now, the platform has also moved from web service to the cloud; Ezfarm’s clients can easily avail production performance management services, including pig growth information and AI-based disease prediction. These robust capabilities offered by PigPlan will serve as a stepping stone for South Korea to become an advanced pig farming country by improving the productivity and efficiency of pig farms.
INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS TO NOVEL
CHALLENGES Speaking further, Gyomoon Jin emphasizes a study done by Deloitte, which reveals that food safety, time efficiency, and food label transparency are gaining even more prominence during the COVID-19 pandemic. Consumers want to know how agricultural products went through the production, processing, and distribution stages. Therefore, managing the lifecycle of agricultural products is becoming pertinent.
To overcome this challenge, Ezfarm started the Blocery project to provide a safer, smarter, sustainable, and more transparent food supply chain ecosystem to all the stakeholders of the supply chain, including final consumers. The Blocery project has sparked several new innovations, the most notable of which are Marketbly and Shopbly—the blockchain-based agricultural direct trading and history management platforms.
By using blockchain, in particular, Ezfarm is creating a new and transparent agricultural supply chain ecosystem—enabling food producers, distributors, settlement businesses, and consumers to exercise an unprecedented level of non-counterfeiting data sovereignty
While Marketbly is designed to increase sales opportunities for agricultural producers and helps consumers purchase high-quality products at low prices, Shopbly offers production logs and contract cultivation capabilities for producers and distributors. Both these platforms comprise a token called BLY. When a consumer purchases a product, a certain token is set aside and can be used to purchase agricultural products again. Currently, about 30 percent of all monthly sales correspond to token sales wherein consumers use the tokens to purchase Agri-foods. These tokens can also be used to compensate producers for supplying crucial agricultural data— thereby creating a virtuous cycle of direct agricultural transactions.
What’s more? Ezfarm has also developed an AI solution, AliOn, which is designed to reprocess the pig farming data owned by Ezfarm and derive predictions for pig breeding cycles. Due to such a groundbreaking AI solution, Ezfarm has been selected as an AI voucher/ cloud voucher supplier by the government of South Korea and has also been chosen as an agri-food business operator in the government’s big data platform and center construction project. Notably, Ezfarm has even conducted blockchain technology research with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Korea Internet and Rural Development Administration from 2018 to 2020.
Even more impressive is the company’s role in helping the Agricultural Processing Center (APC) to streamline its processes. As APC is responsible for receiving, screening, storing, and settling the agricultural products from hundreds of farms in the region, it needed a seamless ‘data pipeline’ that could integrate with its ERP and facilitate reliable and accurate information. They chose the best in Korea—Ezfarm— which was able to meet all their requirements. Alongside, Ezfarm also provided APC with cloud and big data solutions to further enhance its capabilities.
Today, APC and countless other clients of Ezfarm can easily predict productivity and achieve sales insights based on data derived from the company’s platforms. By applying AI, the clients can easily categorize and manage both meat and non-meat income to increase their profits.
Riding on the coattails of these competencies, Ezfarm is carving a niche as a reliable agtech partner for pig farmers in its country. The company has established a foundation for consulting commercialization aimed at improving farm productivity by carrying out the ‘Development of an Intelligent Decision Support System based on Pig Data’ project for demand companies in conjunction with the government’s ‘AI Voucher Support Project.’ Owing to such contributions, Ezfarm secured the first government blockchain project in 2018 by the Agri-Food Technology Quality Assessment Institute and another project from the Agriculture Promotion Agency, one of the government’s top 10 blockchain projects in 2020.
Such exceptional milestones have only boosted the company’s meteoric growth in the country. Notably, Ezfarm has recently been selected as official partner of Elasticsearch, world’s leading free and open search and analytics solution. Ezfarm is also collaborating with large e-commerce and distribution manufacturers, attracting strategic investments in blockchain technology partnerships (IOST, Halborn, etc.). “Through innovation and merit, we are emerging as a fullyfledged agtech company ready to revolutionize the entire industry,” concludes the CEO.